Do you answer yes to any of these questions?
- I have symptoms of heaviness or dragging?
- I have symptoms of incontinence?
- I can’t exercise because I have prolapse or incontinence?
- I can’t exercise because my pelvic floor isn’t strong enough?
- I am unfit for surgery?
Then a pessary may be a valid and conservative option to treating your symptoms of prolapse, incontinence and allow you to exercise!
A Pessary is a device, typically made out of silicone inserted into the vagina that acts as scaffolding to support the pelvic organs.
The use of silicone pessaries has increased dramatically over the past 5-10 years. Perhaps due to the recent known complications with the use of surgical mesh for prolapse or incontinence surgery? Perhaps due to an increase in the number of practitioners being skilled in prescribing and fitting them? Perhaps it’s as simple as the shear increase in women speaking up and seeking help?
Whichever the reason, we are finding they can be very effective in not only treating, but they also may prevent prolapse and incontinence symptoms. We find many women are using a pessary to allow them to return to impact exercise despite having a non-optimal pelvic floor!
How do they help?
- I have symptoms of heaviness or dragging – The pessary will hold the organs up to relieve symptoms.
- I have symptoms of incontinence – The pessary provides a back stop to support the urethra.
- I can’t exercise because I have prolapse or incontinence – The pessary will support the organs to allow symptom relief and may prevent the prolapse or incontinence from getting worse.
- I can’t exercise because my pelvic floor isn’t strong enough – The pessary will act as a “pelvic floor” while the tissues are being rehabilitated – think strapping a weak ankle to return to netball.
- I am unfit for surgery – Pessary may provide a conservative approach to managing symptoms of prolapse and incontinence.
There are several shapes and sizes of pessaries and it is essential that they are fitted by a skilled practitioner. The patient will learn to self-care for their pessary. Some need to be changed daily. Others changed weekly. Some are harder to use than others. The point being that everyone is different and there isn’t a one size fits all device.
These are obviously not for everyone, and may not work, however it is a good option to try. They can provide symptom relief and give you the ability to exercise. If you are interested in chatting to us more about pessaries please send us an email or give us a call. You are not alone! We see patients with these issues every day.